What are we to make of President George W. Bush’s vocabulary? Is it “A Way with Words” or “A War on Words”? Australians recently got a firsthand taste of George W.’s quirky use of the English language. We’ve read about them, seen them all on David Letterman’s “Great Moments in Presidential Speeches,” but now Bushisms were happening right on our doorstep.
Letterman’s “Great Moments” often focus on the pauses and “ums” and “ahs.” But this time, it was the new words and meanings (intended or otherwise) that grabbed my attention and made me realize that what I was hearing was nothing less than the reshaping of English.
Don’t get me wrong, our own political leaders come out with some beauties too. And we Ozzies do our own strange dance with the language. For instance, prospective Ozzie citizens have to take a test about the country’s history and culture which includes understanding various well-known Ozzie sayings. Whether or not saying “Mate” and “G’day” to everyone will turn them into instant Australians remains to be seen.